Tab Show is powerful. Lucky plush has created an accessible performance that gives you an inside look into dance, only to ask the audience about their relationship with art in the abstract. The technical proficiency of the dancers, combined with impactful themes and powerful light and sound make Tab Show a solid production, albeit somewhat heavy handed in delivery. However, you will ultimately leave the show with complex questions and intrigued with the production’s overall message.
Tab Show’s first act, “Rink Life” starts and ends with color and candor. Immediately, the stage is filled with quirky characters clad in all sorts of bright and casual outfits, each humming their own tune as they walk out (varying from Lady Gaga to the Super Mario theme). The dancers interface with each other like it is the first time. It’s awkward and endearing, not unlike the actual act of meeting someone new. Over the course of the first performance, they get to know one another and express all the baggage that comes with it in fantastic interpretive dances - new friendships, romances, rivalries, and hardships are expressed in dynamic and fantastic ways that will keep your eyes glued to the stage.
The production takes a turn after the intermission. In “Curb Candy,” Elegant choreographies are substituted for purposefully awkward, skit-like vignettes. The second act feels more akin to performance art than a dance ensemble performance. Dancing couples are swapped for stationary friends talking on a bench, and humming gives way to talking. It’s a stark but ultimately welcome contrast from the first act. While the second half of the production captivates with wacky antics and striking imagery, some of the messages come across as overly-forced. It is a nice touch to nudge the house lights up when the dancers are portraying the audience, but it is disengaging when the trick is repeated. Not all of the messages are redundant, however, and the subject matter is unique enough to stimulate the audience on multiple levels, leaving all primed for discussion.
Tab Show is impressive through and through. Fans of dance will love the technical proficiency of the company in the first act and fans of theatre will embrace the intellectual topics presented in act two. With the exception of a couple of elements, Tab Show is a fantastic performance worth the price of admission.
Review by Ryan Moore
Tab Show ran April 26-27. For more info on what Lucky Plush is up to next, check out their website.